As leaders in contact centre recruitment, Citrus Group is in constant communication with key industry figures whose practical insights and solutions can help us face challenges, such as the COVID-19 virus which has completely changed the way we live and work.
We salute the many businesses who have seamlessly and safely shifted their teams from call centres to home-based work. Delivering the services people need, in a time of crisis, is more important than ever. Contact centres are the frontline for government, business, emergency services, through to supermarkets, banks, insurers and health providers.
Darren Sutton, of HealthShare NSW, in just 2 weeks, has moved 100% of his workforce from the onsite contact centre, to home working.
Darren says that in a crisis, Leadership comes down to 2 things:
For your team, he says establishing clarity early around these two elements helps people to adapt very quickly to a different operating rhythm. From the SME to the biggest corporates, Darren says very few of us are prepared for workforces to be at home for unspecified timeframes.
Every organisation has to be mindful of its people and how they will respond to a crisis – the mental health of our nation is of the highest priority, as exemplified by the Federal Government, on Sunday 29 March, delivering a $1.1billion package to deal with the health effects of COVID-19.
Darren says: “If you don’t have clarity on what your purpose and objectives are, you risk compounding the anxiety your people will feel, which in turn, inhibits their ability to support those objectives. We are there for our callers – and we have to prioritise the well-being of our people as enablers of excellence for them, during a crisis.”
As a leader, Darren emphasises that during a crisis Business As Usual (BAU) is often the first casualty. A new operating rhythm can mean a more directive environment because speed of response is more critical. Leaders need to prepare their people for this, while acknowledging this may be difficult for many. Balancing the need to prioritise your people while focusing on getting more done, more urgently, is one of the greatest challenges for leaders.
“Like most in our industry, technology is our enabler – our cloud-based telephony was in place but was relatively untested for remote working at scale and, like so many businesses, we had less time than any of us would have preferred to launch,” he says. “There was testing, and minimal training, and there will always be mistakes and some things won’t work. But we moved our entire call centre operations from the office, into staff homes, up and working in the space of 2 weeks.”
He says it has been a success (so far) and most importantly, “our capacity to support frontline health employees across NSW has actually expanded.”
Customer service delivery – it’s the business we’re in!
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